Katabatic Flex 15 Quilt Review | Best Backpacking Quilt

Have you seen or heard of using a quilt instead of a sleeping bag, but thought to yourself, “They are too drafty?”  Well, I’d challenge you to take a look at a Katabatic Quilt.  Your mind just might be changed.  We test a lot of gear here at Backwoods Pursuit, and there are times when a piece of gear is pulled out of the box and is flat out impressive. That was exactly the case with the Katabatic Flex 15 Quilt.  We’ll get into the details as to why below, but this quilt is absolutely top-notch quality, incredibly warm, super comfortable, and feature-rich. 

While this quilt is certainly not the lightest quilt on the market, this one features a plush draft collar, rock solid pad attachment system, 900 fill goose down, and silky soft Pertex Quantum fabric.  Everything about the Katabatic Flex Quilt screams quality. Because of this, and other reasons we’ll get into below, the Katabatic Flex 15 Quilt takes home our “Backwoods Best Quilt” award. We don’t hand out this award lightly as this means we really believe in the product, but the Flex Quilt earned it.

Katabatic Flex Quilt Review: Best Features

Katabatic Flex 15 quilt

Unlike other ultralight quilts on the market, such as something like minimalist style Zpacks Solo Quilt, the Katabatic Flex Quilt is packed with features.  Granted, a comparison to the Zpacks Solo Quilt isn’t a fair one as the Solo Quilt is a minimalist style quilt built to shave every ounce possible. The contrast, however, between the two marks the types of options you have in the world of quilts. All of these features make for a super comfortable quilt, but you still keep the weight down because it’s a quilt.  The Katabatic Flex Quilt isn’t as light weight as other quilts on the market, but you get a ton more comfort and features.

Katabatic Flex Quilt Review: Specs

Katabatic Flex 15 quilt

Footbox opened up

Katabatic Flex 15 quilt

Footbox closed off

The Flex Quilt, or as they refer to it, the Katabatic Flex Sleeping Bag, comes in a number of different lengths and widths, as well as the option to put 850 fill power HyperDry duck down, 900 fill power goose down, or 900 fill power HyperDry goose down in it. The weight of these quilts range from 16.3oz for the short/regular 40 degree model, up to 31oz for the long/wide version with duck down in the 15 degree model.

I found that, at 5’11” and a 52 inch shoulder girth, the regular/wide version fit me best. I prefer to have the option to close off the the quilt completely underneath me on cold nights, and the wide version does that best for me. Here are the specs on the Regular/Wide model I tested:

  • Down: 900 fill Hyperdry goose down
  • Fill weight: 18.4oz
  • Total weight: 27.2oz
  • Loft: 3.25in (each side)
  • Shoulder width: 58in
  • Hip width: 49in
  • Foot width: 44in
  • Packed size: 9×15
  • Differential cut
  • Outer Material: Pertex Quantum ripstop
  • Inner Material: Pertex Quantum Taffeta

Katabatic Flex 15 Review: Awesome Versatility

Katabatic Flex quilt

One of the features we love about quilts is their versatility.  As with all quilts, you’ve got the option to leave the Flex quilt unattached from your pad on those warm nights where you just need a little something to keep the cool air off you. 

Katabatic Flex 15 quilt

However, the Flex Quilt takes it a step further and features both an open foot box with a draw cord, and a zippered foot box, allowing you to fully unzip the Flex quilt and drape it over the top of you.  This gives the Katabatic Flex Quilt a TON of options and ultimate flexibility in uses.  It gives you an incredibly wide range of temperature uses as well.  If you want one quilt that can do it all, the Katabatic Flex Quilt is a real gem.

Katabatic Quilt Pad Attachment System

Katabatic Flex 15 quilt

The pad attachment system of the Katabatic Quilt is awesome.  It adjusts to whatever size pad you are using and gives you two different modes.  Simply loop the pad straps around your pad where you want it, cinch down the strap, and you are ready to attach the quilt. 

Katabatic Quilt Pad Straps: Mode 1

The first mode is achieved by taking the clip and clipping it on the first, larger hole.  This allows the quilt to move freely and is best used for the warmer nights when you don’t need to seal out any cold drafts.  This mode gives you the maximum freedom to move around (if you choose to clip the quilt in), but of course isn’t as warm because you are likely to have more drafts, and there’s more room inside the quilt for your body to heat.

Katabatic Flex quilt straps

Katabatic Quilt Pad Straps: Mode 2

The second mode is to be used when it’s going to be colder out and you need to seal out drafts.  This is achieved by moving the clip from the first position to the second position (smaller hole), which locks the quilt in place.  You can still adjust the Flex Quilt once you’ve put it in the second position, but it doesn’t move on its own.  Having the ability to make this adjustment in the middle of the night once temps drop is super nice.   

Katabatic Flex quilt pad straps

The Katabatic Flex Quilt also features an elastic band that covers the length of the opening on both sides, helping keep the quilt from gaping and sealing out any potential drafts (see above).  This definitely made a difference.

katabatic Quilt Pad Straps: Mode 3

Katabatic Flex 15 quilt

One of the things that makes the Katabatic Flex Quilt so awesome is its versatility. A third option for using your Flex Quilt is included with your purchase, and allows you to remove the pad straps mentioned above and use different straps that allow the quilt to move freely while not attached to the pad, but act more as a sleeping bag. Instead of using the clips sewn into the Flex Quilt, you loop these other straps through the sewn in loops (as shown above) and cinch them as tight as you’d like.

There is still a ton of flexibility using it this way as you can easily open the Flex Quilt up for warmer nights, or close it off with a simple pull of the strap. Pretty awesome to have this amount of flexibility all included in one sleeping bag/quilt.

Katabatic Flex 15 Review: Warmth Test

Katabatic Flex 15 quilt

If warmth is what you are after, look no further than the Katabatic Flex 15 Quilt. The loft of the Katabatic Flex 15 is AMAZING. These quilts just scream quality, and the same holds true in the warmth department.

I tested this Katabatic Flex 15 Quilt out when the temps dropped down to the mid teens, with a “feels like” temp of 10 degrees Fahrenheit, and was toasty warm. It was an extremely humid night as well, which can typically cause bags/quilts to perform worse than their temperature ratings. Not the case with this Katabatic Quilt. Of course, as with any quilt, you’ll need to make sure you use a good, high r-value pad appropriate for the temps you will be in. It’s always a good idea to use a little higher r-value pad than you’d use with a sleeping bag when using a quilt.

Katabatic Flex 15 Review: Materials / Down

Katabatic Flex 15 quilt

The Katabatic Quilt (a.k.a. the Katabatic Sleeping Bags) can be ordered with either 850 or 900 fill down, along with the option to choose water repellent down or standard down.   You can even have the quilt overstuffed with down if you’d like.  The Flex Quilt is offered in a number of sizes, and I found that the reg/wide version fit me best.  I like a little extra width on a quilt so I can fully wrap the quilt underneath me on cold nights, so generally I lean towards wide models when it comes to quilts. 

The materials and 900 down is where this Katabatic Flex Quilt really stood out.  When I laid the quilt out for the first time, I was instantly impressed with its loft and the softness of materials.  Just by handling the Flex Quilt I could tell it was going to be warm as it was obvious that Katabatic Gear did not skimp on the down fill at all.

The Flex 15 Quilt that I tested in the wide/long version came with an impressive 18.4oz of 900 fill down. The combination of a 900 fill down and a generous portion of down makes this Flex Quilt stand out among the rest.

Katabatic Flex 15 Review: Stitching/Baffling

The Katabatic Flex Quilt uses a horizontal, continuous baffle system and adds a long vertical seem. The continuous baffle system allows you to move the down around if you want to adjust for various temperatures, but I had no issue with it migrating unintentionally. I experienced zero cold spots and it kept me toasty warm down to its temperature rating of 15 degrees.

Katabatic Flex Quilt Foot Box

Katabatic Flex 15 quilt

The Katabatic Flex Quilt also gives you an overstuffed foot box to keep your feet extra warm. Combine that with the flexibility of the drawstring closures and zippered foot box, and the Flex 15 Quilt will have you covered in an incredibly wide range of temperatures. Use it with the foot box open on warmer nights, cinch down the draw cord for cold nights, or unzip the foot box entirely on really warm nights.

Katabatic flex Quilt Draft Collar

Katabatic Flex 15 quilt

Another feature that makes the Katabatic Flex Quilt stand out is the extremely plush draft collar.  A lot of quilts don’t come standard with a draft collar, but the Flex Quilt does.  The draft collar also features a hefty drawstring that you can tell will last.  Combine the stout draw cord and the plush draft collar, and you can really seal out drafts around your neck.

Keeping Your Head Warm With a Quilt

When using any quilt, you’ll need to have a way to keep your head warm.  I’ve used a hooded base layer for those times when the temps aren’t too terribly cold, and that worked really well. However, if you want something a little warmer, the Zpacks Goose Hood is flat out AWESOME!  Made of 950 fill goose down and weighing less than an ounce, it’s more than worth its weight and keeps your head toasty warm.  In fact, it can also be used to keep your head and neck warm while glassing, etc. Once you wear one, you’ll likely not go back.

I tested the Zpacks Goose Down Hood down to the low 20s and decided I’ll absolutely be taking this thing with me every single time.  The small draw cord can be drawn around your face to seal out the cold.  This is a must if you tend to get a cold head or maybe don’t have a full head of hair.

Katabatic Flex 15 Review: What I Liked

Katabatic Flex quilt

There is SO much to love about the Katabatic Flex Quilt.  It’s super warm, extremely versatile, top notch quality, and feature rich.  The plush draft collar, rock solid pad attachment system, generous down fill and Pertex Quantum shell material make this a favorite of ours here at Backwoods Pursuit.  You can find a lighter weight quilt, but you’d be hard pressed to find a better one.

  • Warmth
  • Versatility
  • Draft collar
  • Quality of fill and material
  • Pad attachment system
  • Large storage bag included

Katabatic Flex 15 Review: What I Didn’t Like

Katabatic Flex 15 quilt

It was tough to find much I didn’t like about the Katabatic Flex Quilt, but there were a few things that I thought could make it even better.  A second button or clip three to four inches below the existing snap would help keep that small gap that likes to appear around the neck at bay. 

The weight is on the heavy side for a quilt (27oz for a reg/wide model) as well as the stuffed size.  I’d also like to see a compression sack included rather than just a stuff sack.  The price point is the highest of the quilts we tested, but given all of the features it has, it makes sense.  You get what you pay for with the Flex Quilt.

  • Possible 2nd button/clip around neck
  • Weight for a quilt
  • Stuffed size for a quilt
  • No compression sack included
  • Price point

check out The Katabatic Flex 15 Review Video and how the Pad Straps Work

Pick the Right Sleeping Pad

Selecting the right sleeping pad is even more critical when using a quilt, so make sure you get one that’s warm enough. Generally, I like to add around 1 point in R-Value when using a quilt vs. a down sleeping bag to make sure the cold air from the ground isn’t the cause of a cold night’s sleep. Check out our sleeping pad reviews for some great options with a quilt! Not digging a quilt? We’ve tested a ton of sleeping bags as well. Check out our sleeping bag reviews!

Katabatic Flex 15 Weight/Compactness

Katabatic Flex 15 quilt

Finally, the Katabatic Flex 15 Quilt is a bit heavier and not quite as compact as other quilts I’ve tested with a similar temperature rating. As noted above, you get a TON of features and a Cadillac of a quilt, but it comes at a bit heavier weight and doesn’t compress down quite as much. At 27oz, you can certainly find a lighter weight quilt, but you’d be harder pressed to find a better quality, more comfortable one.

I’m more than happy to carry a little extra weight to ensure a good night’s sleep, but in some cases I elect for the lighter weight and go with a different quilt to shave some weight. Even so, 27oz is very light weight for an incredible 15 degree quilt that performs below its temperature rating.

How To Store A Down Quilt

Katabatic Flex 15 Quilt

Katabatic gives you a mesh storage bag with the Flex 15 Quilt and gives you a nice stuff sack for use on the the trail. I very much appreciate it when a nice long term storage bag is included when purchasing a high quality quilt or sleeping bag like this.

It’s easy to get home from your final adventure of the season, unload your gear and throw it all in a storage bin for the winter, but make sure you properly store your down sleeping bag as well as your insulated sleeping pad. Don’t leave that high quality sleeping bag in its stuff sack long term as it could reduce the effectiveness of the down. Down needs to be lofted, not compressed when stored, and should be stored indoors if at all possible. Here are a couple of storage options to keep your down sleeping bag at its peak performance.

  • Hang in a closet
  • Lay under your bed
  • Store in the storage sack provided (shown above)

Hanging a down bag is my first choice, but not everyone has the space for that. Most bags come with sewn in loops to stick on a hanger. Second to that, I prefer to store the bag lying flat under my bed. This allows the down to be fully lofted. Finally, storing in the provided storage sack is perfectly acceptable as well. The down is slightly compressed in those storage sacks, but nothing that will cause any damage to the down in your bag.

Another excellent tip for long term storage of a high quality down sleeping bag or quilt (recommended on Katabatic’s website) is to throw the bag/quilt in the dryer on low heat for about 30 minutes. This helps ensures that any residual moisture from humidity or sweat vapor is gone so it doesn’t have a chance to fester and grow odor causing bacteria during storage.

My ratings for the Katabatic Flex 15 Quilt

Overall Ranking
Backwoods Best quilt

Katabatic Flex 15 Review Conclusion

I was so impressed with the Katabatic Flex Quilt that it takes home our “Backwoods Best Quilt” award. I tested some incredible quilts in this series, but the Flex 15 Quilt stood out among the rest. Its incredible loft, super high quality construction, perfectly thought out pad strap system, elastic around the opening on the back of the quilt, plush draft collar and extremely versatile zippered foot box make this Katabatic Flex Quilt edge out the others for this award.

If weight isn’t your biggest concern and you are willing to carry a couple extra ounces for a lot of extra comfort, the Katabatic Flex Quilt is most certainly one to look at. While the price point is up there for a quilt and the weight is on the higher side, it’s by no means heavy. At just 27oz it truly does keep you warm down below its rating of 15 degrees Fahrenheit (at least it did for me).

Buy a Katabatic Flex Quilt

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